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What’s the purpose of a chemical breath test?

On Behalf of | Dec 13, 2022 | Drunk Driving

Many people think having one or two drinks isn’t going to stop them from driving. That is until a police car pulls them over for a traffic stop. While it could have been because the car had a missing tail light or their plates expired, they were likely pulled over because of their erratic driving, causing the officer to suspect them of drunk driving.

It’s the officer’s duty to evaluate a driver suspected of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The officer may ask the driver to do a field sobriety test, but, in all likelihood, the driver may be asked to take a breath test. A breathalyzer is a sobriety test that looks nearly identical to a walkie-talkie. 

It’s often people’s first instinct to refuse a chemical breath test. But, drivers should think again. Here’s what you should know:

Breath alcohol tests help the police evaluate sobriety

A breath test is a machine that evaluates a person’s blood-alcohol content (BAC). If the police officer finds the driver’s BAC is 0.08% or above, that’s automatically considered “too drunk to drive.” (Even those with lower BAC can, however, find themselves facing charges.)

Many people will want to refuse a breath test. However, under Ohio’s implied consent laws, refusing a breath test may result in a license suspicion, fines and jail time. That’s why most drivers comply with the request – knowing that they can challenge the results later. While they’re often touted as the gold standard of testing, the reality is that breath tests are not always as accurate as they should be.

This can be confusing for people who don’t know their legal options when confronted with a drunk driving charge. That’s why experienced legal guidance is important.